From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Is Rory McIlroy better than Tiger was at 19? Mark O’Meara thinks so

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Well I’m a bit late on this story, but I figure now is a better time as ever.

It’s not everyday that you get the chance to hear such tosh comments from a golfing great. After firing an opening-round 77 at the Desert Classic, Mark O’Meara, a very good friend of Tiger’s, made the comment that he thought 19-year-old golfer Rory McIlroy was a better golfer at his age than Tiger was at 19.

“Ball-striking wise at 19, he’s probably better than what Tiger was at 19. His technique I think is better. Certainly Tiger has developed his game and swing over the years and made modifications to be able to hit the ball pin-high, but Rory is already doing that and he’s 19, so he’s already a step ahead,” said O’Meara, 52, after his opening-round 77.

Everyone dreams of matching Jack Nicklaus in his prime against Tiger circa 2008 to see who would win. But what about matching McIlroy against 19-year-old Tiger?

If you gave the players today’s equipment to even the playing field, who would win? My money would be on Tiger, because to be honest, even at 19 he was so far ahead of his peers mentally that he could will himself to win.

Those U.S. Junior’s and U.S. Am’s didn’t just fall into his lap. He had to win those things the hard way. Today’s junior golfer is far too pampered, always expecting everything on a silver platter. Tiger wasn’t like that — Earl wouldn’t let him become a Country Club kiddo. Earl’s tough love would have allowed Tiger to wipe the floor with McIlroy.

Say want you want about this kid from Northern Ireland, but even at 19 he’s nowhere close to Tiger’s skill. An 18 hole match between these two wouldn’t even be close.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

01/30/2009 at 4:15 pm

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